Software COVERAGE FROM AROUND THE WEB
Brian S Hall writes about the "Smart Social Mobile Web" and how it is rapidly re-constructing markets, industries, business models and relationships around the world. His fiction works are available at Amazon.com. His personal site on the "Smartphone Wars" is at www.brianshall.com.But the rumored announcement of a Facebook Phone isn't just a repudiation of that plan, it's also another step on Zuckerberg's slow journey torward accepting the superiority of so-called "native apps" over the Mobile Web running on HTML5. For years, Zuckerberg has championed the Mobile Web's ability to deliver a consistent user experience across multiple devices with a single development effort. But last summer Zuckerberg admitted defeat and publicly changed course on HTML5. As ReadWrite noted at the time:Facebook released a completely rebuilt version of its iOS app for iPhone and iPad today, changing a fundamental aspect of the company's mobile strategy. Gone is the Web-centric, HTML5 approach. In its place, Facebook has rebuilt the iOS app using Apple’s native framework. The result? A more streamlined, faster app for the iPhone and iPad.And, in fact, the iOS native Facebook app has proven faster, smoother and quicker to load versus its Mobile Web counterpart.Facebook seems to have learned its lesson, but what about the rest of the mobile industry? A new survey by Compuware APM confirms that users greatly prefer native apps to the mobile web. For example, the survey's key takeaway:
On this special April 1 – the seven-year anniversary of the Apache Hadoop project’s first release – Hadoop founder Doug Cutting (also Cloudera’s chief architect and the Apache Software Foundation chair) offers seven thoughts on Hadoop:If Hadoop had been created as proprietary software it would not have spread as rapidly. We’ve seen incredible growth in the use of Hadoop. Partly that’s because it’s useful. But many would have been cautious to make a vendor-controlled platform part of their infrastructure, useful or not.The Hadoop ecosystem has hundreds of developers working for tens of organizations. Competitors productively collaborate on a daily basis, improving the software we all share. The Apache Software Foundation gives us the methodology that enables this. (Thanks, Apache!)Folks flock to Hadoop not just because it is open-source and works, but also because it fills a need. Moore’s law provides us with a bounty of affordable hardware. This has led to computing devices spreading through our world. Cars and tractors have computers. Phones, and cash registers and more have become computers. Data flows through each of these. Hadoop gives us tools to save and analyze more of this data, improving our understanding of the world.When we started out, I had no idea what Hadoop would become, so I proposed a name for it that didn’t have any connotation. The project has grown, giving that name meaning. Not everyone may pronounce the word “Hadoop” the same, but we all know what it is. A whimsical name also helps remind us to have fun.
Preface: Nothing in this post is necessarily new, or even anything I thought of first (save for a name or two). However, I’m writing it because I’d like to start building some consistency and naming conventions around a few of the techniques that I am using (and are becoming more common), as well as document some processes that I find helpful.Much of this comes from my experience deploying applications at Bazaarvoice as a large third party vendor, and should probably be tailored to your specific environment. I’m sure someone does the opposite of me in each step of this with good results.Also, I fully understand the irony of loading a few MBs of GIFs in a post largely about performance, but I like them. Any specific tools I mention are because I’m familiar with them, not necessarily because there are no good alternatives. Feel free to comment on other good techniques and tools below. Facts appreciated.You work on a large app. You might be a third party, or you might not be. You might be on a team, or you might not be. You want maximum performance, with a high cache rate and extremely high availability.Locally, you might run a static server with some AMD modules, or a “precompile server” in front of some sass and coffeescript, or browserify with commonjs modules. Whatever you’re doing in development is your choice and not the topic du jour.
iCloud, perhaps more than any Apple software product, is meant to "just work." When Apple introduced iCloud, it made clear its hopes to eradicate settings menus and file systems in favor of automation. Steve Jobs pledged to do a better job than he did on MobileMe, Apple’s notoriously horrible stab at web services a few years ago. With iCloud, changes you make to documents on your computer show up instantly on your iPhone and vice versa. "It just works," Jobs exclaimed when he first demoed the service in 2011. "Everything happens automatically," Jobs continued, "and it’s really easy to tie your apps into iCloud’s storage system."Nearly two years later, customers demand iCloud integration more than ever from third-party developers, but it’s a total mess to implement. "iCloud hasn’t worked out for us," wrote Daniel Pasco, CEO of development studio Black Pixel this past week. "We spent a considerable amount of time on this effort, but iCloud and Core Data syncing had issues that we simply could not resolve." Pocket lead developer Steve Streza piled on with a cutting tweet: "Remember that @blackpixel has many of the brightest people in Cocoa development. If they couldn’t get iCloud working, who can?""I’ve rewritten my iCloud code several times now in the hopes of finding a working solution," wrote developer Michael Göbel in a blog post, and "Apple clearly hasn’t." The problem is this: Apple has failed to improve the way it syncs databases ("Core Data") with iCloud, yet has continued to advertise and market iCloud as a hassle-free solution.
You know you need something better, but time just doesn't seem to be on your side. Making things "right" is costly and you need to deliver working code NOW.Tests would be great but there are real deadlines to meet. You can't stop development and churn away for hours just to add tests around what you know already works.It looks hard to use and difficult to understand. You have little-to-no experience with it and just figuring out where to start feels daunting. You're left wondering how you use it to test all this stuff you're responsible for.You need to write solid, bug-free code, but your path is filled with manual tests and an application that breaks every time you change it.No longer would you dread the bug reports. You'd happily make changes knowing that your safety net is there. You'd try out new features guiding yourself with tests.My name is Chris Hartjes. I'm a long-time PHP developer who has been promoting testing practices for almost a decade. I wrote "The Grumpy Programmer's Guide To Building Testable PHP Applications" to show you how you can write code you can easily test. The past few years I have spoken at conferences about best practices for writing tests and been recognized as an expert on unit testing. Now, I want to help you learn to use PHPUnit to create tests that give you confidence that your code is on the right track.
I’ve just spent a happy lunch hour playing with Google Correlate. It lets you enter real world time series data (weekly sales, temperature, or footfall for example) and then tries to correlate it with search trends. This could be extremely useful for planning content or paid search, or just for winkling out that all-important ‘insight’ that delivers the edge.So to try it out I downloaded some historic weather data from the Met Office, munged it around a bit (Correlate seems to take well to two column CSV formatted data using US-formatted dates — mm/dd/yyyy), then uploaded it into the tool.Running the tool gives me a set of 10 searches that closely match the seasonality and trends in my data set.When the temperature increases in the UK, we’re likely to be go fishing, be bothered by flies and spot grass snakes. Only after we’ve trimmed the hedge and creosoted our garden fences of course. I slightly resent this image of the average English person as a coarse-fishing gardener obsessed by party boundaries, but in my soul of souls I fear that it’s probably fairly accurate.
For many of us developers, WebKit is a black box. We throw HTML, CSS, JS and a bunch of assets at it, and WebKit, somehow.. magically, gives us a webpage that looks and works well. But in fact, as my colleague Ilya Grigorik puts it…Now, especially with the news that Opera has moved to WebKit, we have a lot of WebKit browsers out there, but its pretty hard to know what they share and where they part ways. Below we’ll hopefully shine some light on this. As a result you’ll be able to diagnose browser differences better, report bugs at the right tracker, and understand how to develop against specific browsers more effectively.There are different “ports” of WebKit, but allow me to let Ariya Hidayat, WebKit hacker and eng director at Sencha to explain:What is the popular reference to WebKit is usually Apple’s own flavor of WebKit which runs on Mac OS X (the first and the original WebKit library). As you can guess, the various interfaces are implemented using different native libraries on Mac OS X, mostly centered around CoreFoundation. For example, if you specify a flat colored button with specific border radius, well WebKit knows where and how to draw that button. However, the final actual responsibility of drawing the button (as pixels on the user’s monitor) falls into CoreGraphics.
Numerous sources have confirmed that Evan Powell, CEO of Santa Clara-based Nexenta will step down today as CEO under undisclosed circumstances. He assumes the position of CSO in the company and had served as its CEO since 2007. Privately held and founded in 2005, the company brings an open philosophy to software-defined storage and uses its community model to become a storage force. Network storage veteran Bridget Warwick also joins the company as its CMO, chief marketing officer.Nexenta has been making waves with major partnerships and touts over 5000 customers, with an emphasis in the finance sector. Their total sales are approaching half a billion dollars and projected to be over a billion dollars this year, and go to two billion dollars in 2014. The explosive growth echoes the rise of software-defined datacenters, delivering major savings and capabilities at the same time. As a software-only platform, the heterogeneous capabilities result in not only high scalability, but also maintain high-performance, which is critical in high demand scenarios such as virtualization and VDI. At a time where it is commonly estimated that more than half of IT budgets are spent in big data, cloud and virtualization, this is where Nexenta shines with their ZFS-based storage solutions that break the boundaries of proprietary and slow storage systems. The company competes with NetApp and their Data ONTAP products.
Hosted and locally managed virtualization can help provide quick access to a large number of browsers and operating systems for you to test your site against.We've partnered with BrowserStack (learn more) to bring virtual testing to you for your next project. This offer will expire January 10, 2014 and your 3 month period begins once you log-in.Enter a URL to test your site in BrowserStack. You will be taken to BrowserStack.com sign-up page. Additional terms may apply.We've pulled together back level versions of Windows and Internet Explorer for your local testing needs. Download the images below that best meet your host OS and development needs.*The default zip tools for OSX and Linux aren't properly unzipping the VM packages. We're looking into this. For now, please use "The Unarchiver" from the Apple app store or a utility like PeaZip for Linux to extract the virtual machines as these have been shown to work properly.* More information on Windows 8 Pro and Hyper-V athttp://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36188.For all other Virtualization technologies, please refer to the respective manufacturer’s documentation for adding VHDs.
Firefox OS is now going to happen. When it was announced a year ago, the carriers said they were in. Now they’re about to prove it: this summer, Telefonica will roll out handsets in Spain, Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, and Deutsche Telekom and Telenor will do the same in Europe.But will it succeed? To figure that out, we need to look at a number of variables, including the OS itself, but mainly what it represents for those all-important carriers.From an open standards perspective, the Firefox OS is as pure as it gets right now. The whole thing is based on HTML5 – it’s all about escaping Google and Apple’s walled gardens and frolicking freely in the wilds of the open web. Half the code was written by volunteers. There will be an official Firefox Marketplace but everyone is free to roll their own, from carriers to games specialists. Any payment method can be implemented – that factor is not in the hands of any one platform sponsor. Apps that run on the platform will also be able to run on rivals that implement HTML5, such as Google’s and Apple’s.The fact that the carriers are lapping this up represents a moment of supreme irony: these are the same companies – largely former monopolies – that were all about walled gardens, the companies that wanted to replicate the portal-first, AOL model in the wireless world. And what happened to stymie that scenario? Apple happened.
Around this time every year, companies start doing their annual reviews. Coincidentally, software engineers start wondering what their peers and managers will be saying about them. Throughout my career I’ve always watched as colleagues worried about the results of their annual review. Will they get that promotion? Will they get that raise? Or will they be told that they are not performing up to expectations? All of this happens, like clockwork, once a year.Annual reviews are a reminder that your reputation matters. For most of the year, software engineers don’t care at all what anybody else thinks as long as they’re getting the job done. Then annual reviews come along and we realize we might have rubbed some people the wrong way. I know software engineers who year over year always feel like their review is incorrect and unfair (though I’m sure other occupations have similar issues). What makes it more difficult for software engineers is that we deal so much with code that we sometimes forget how important it is to deal with people. The code isn’t going to give us a negative review so long as it works. Then again, you’re expected to write code that works, so your review only ever reflects when you don’t write code that works.
Ten years ago the web was broken, but Mozilla fixed it with Firefox. Today, the mobile web is just as broken — and Mozilla will fix it again with Firefox OS. Read on to learn how.Not everyone has been around long enough to remember it, but the web used to be dominated by a single company that dictated most of its terms. Ten years ago, most dynamic websites were built using ActiveX, a technology developed by Microsoft that only worked in Internet Explorer on Windows because it was closely tied to the underlying functions of the operating system. For customers, this meant that in order to use the (then) modern web, you had to use Internet Explorer 6 — and you had to use Windows. Over time, other technologies like Flash and Shockwave eventually replaced the role of ActiveX, and this opened up interoperability across platforms a little bit since those technologies worked on Mac OS as well, but minority OSes like Linux were still in the dark with either non-existent or obsolete versions of these proprietary technologies.At Mozilla, we saw these problems and understood the importance of cross-platform interoperability and standards on the web. Standards are good for customers, developers, and the whole industry because they promote freedom, choice, and innovation. In Mozilla’s eyes, having one for-profit company continuing to dictate the terms of the web would lead to a very dark future. So we created Firefox.
Job site Dice.com just sent us a list of tech skills that are worth over $100,000 a year. And that's just salary -- a new job might also net you bonuses, stock options and the like.Dice is a tech-specific job hunting site. It sifted through its database of over 83,000 job postings, plus conducted a salary survey with over 15,000 participants, to come up with this list. (It's salary survey also revealed a few other insights about today's tech job market.)And you are going to be surprised, because the hottest skills are not always the latest, greatest new thing.Please follow SAI: Enterprise on Twitter and Facebook. Follow Julie Bort on Twitter. Tags: Features, Programming, Careers, Skills | Get Alerts for these topics »
Hot swapping is the process of replacing code while the application is running. It allows a developer to see changes immediately - no recompiling, no waiting on page reloads, and no clicking to get to the application state where the code was changed. Just save the file and you’ll see the changes.I would say hot swapping is a must for making applications with an always active update loop (games) and this guy would probably agree.There is a built in tree list view of all scripts used by the application. The editor supports tabs which are remembered when you close the browser window. You have access to the debugger and all the tools that come with it and the all powerful console is right where you need it.Most importantly it supports hot swapping out of the box. When you press control+s Chrome will start using the updated file immediately. The need for refreshing the page will greatly decrease.By default changes made will be lost when you refresh the page. But with right clicking the source file you can choose the Save As... option. Now just point the dialogue box to your local version of the site and now all the changes you make will get written to you hard drive. Awesome!
This is a guest-post by David Hales, a fellow associate of the new think-tank, Synthesis, who specialises in computational social science. This is a thoughtful response to the rise in big data, and some of the more outlandish claims made about it – see for example, Chris Anderson’s piece ‘The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete‘. I think there is some real relevance for development approaches to big data here.Almost everything we do these days leaves some kind of data trace in some computer system somewhere. When such data is aggregated into huge databases it is called “Big Data”. It is claimed social science will be transformed by the application of computer processing and Big Data. The argument is that social science has, historically, been “theory rich” and “data poor” and now we will be able to apply the methods of “real science” to “social science” producing new validated and predictive theories which we can use to improve the world.What’s wrong with this? On one level nothing. We know so little about the social world that anything is worth a try. Mining these huge databases will almost certainly lead to new ideas and insights. However, before we run headlong into this new world of big data, promoted as it is by corporations such as IBM and the large consultancies, perhaps we might benefit from a little critical reflection.
Too often, any talk of web performance quickly ventures into the land of heavy geekery. Terms like DNS lookups, Gzipping, minifying, far future expires headers, caching, ETags and more are thrown around and consequently lose the attention of most non-techy people. This perpetuates a mentality that performance is solely a technical concern that only developers need to concern themselves with. It’s time for us to treat performance as an essential design feature, not just as a technical best practice.From time to time I get asked what I do for a living. Whenever I mention that I work in mobile, I’ve had people immediately react FACEBOOK SUCKS!Why such an immediate, visceral reaction? They aren’t reacting to the intuitiveness of Facebook’s navigation, nor questioning the elegance of the Timeline redesign. The whole Facebook clusterfudge had everything to do with the fact that their app was slow as shit.The average web page is increasingly obese. We now have more toys to play with, and that means more potential to do damage. Phil Hawksworth brilliantly called out the ridiculousness of these gratuitous, parallaxified websites:While these sites may be visually arresting (though for a lot of them that’s certainly debatable), a good many visitors will never stick around to see them. 74% of mobile web users will leave a site if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. That means you have 5 seconds of someone’s time to get them what they want, or they’re gone.
Anyone who visited Soverain Software's website could be forgiven for believing it's a real company. There are separate pages for "products," "services," and "solutions." There's the "About Us" page. There are phone numbers and e-mail addresses for sales and tech support, even a login page for customers.It's all a sham. Court records show Soverain hasn't made a sale—ever. The various voice mailboxes were all set up by Katherine Wolanyck, the former Latham & Watkins attorney who is a co-founder and partial owner of Soverain. And the impressive list of big corporate customers on its Web page? Those are deals struck with another company, more than a decade ago. That was OpenMarket, a software company that originally created these patents before going out of business in 2001. It sold its assets to a venture capital fund called divine interVentures, which in turn sold the OpenMarket patents to Soverain Software in 2003."Thank you for calling Soverain technical support," says Wolanyck, if you press option 2. "If you are a current customer and have a tech support question, please call us at 1-888-884-4432, or e-mail us at email@example.com." That number, like the "customer support" number on Soverain's contact page, has been disconnected.
Alan S Cohen is a technology executive who has held positions at US WEST, IBM and Cisco. His last two startups Airespace and Nicira were acquired, respectively, by Cisco and VMware. During a two-decade career in tech, Alan brought to market a range of disruptive enterprise technologies,including Internet Commerce, Wi-Fi, VOIP, and Network Virtualization. He serves as an advisor and board member to several technology companies.With Washington festooned over the weekend with banners and parties alongside the serious national dialogue about the issues of the day, we all understand that the world has changed significantly in the last four years. It has become a more distributed, inter-connected place in every aspect of our society.The chiaroscuro of the Cold War has completely disappeared - and we're now seeing a complex and nuanced combination of emerging economic and military powers.Four years ago, people were still debating the NIST definition of Cloud Computing. Indeed, in 2009, Gartner declared Cloud the most hyped technology in the world.Today, you'd have to be hiding under a big rock – trying to avoid the HarBowl, perhaps – if you do not realize the IT Stack has irrevocably flipped from client-server/Web to Cloud. Talk to any entrepreneur, and the big argument is not whether to rent the IT infrastructure from an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider (e.g., Amazon or Rackspace), but what possible reason could someone have to burn precsious capital on buying their own servers and routers.
Why and How Did We Use Browser Sniffing? For a long time browser sniffing was the way developers tested for various browsers and as a resul...Introduction I've seen quite a bit of confusion from developers about what the real differences are between the jQuery .bind() , .live() , ...Note: I've updated the following post to work with jQuery Mobile 1.0+. After the beta version they deprecated the Orientation Classes that t...I've been developing with jQuery Mobile the past several weeks and the application I'm working on has a listing page where I am retrieving ...Critical Internet Explorer 6-8 Hot-fix You may have seen the buzz yesterday about the Critical Microsoft Security Hot-fix (MS13-008) . The ...
I’ve been thinking about the lessons distributed systems engineers learn on the job. A great deal of our instruction is through scars made by mistakes made in production traffic. These scars are useful reminders, sure, but it’d be better to have more engineers with the full count of their fingers.New systems engineers will find the Fallacies of Distributed Computing and the CAP theorem as part of their self-education. But these are abstract pieces without the direct, actionable advice the inexperienced engineer needs to start moving. It’s surprising how little context new engineers are given when they start out.Below is a list of some lessons I’ve learned as a distributed systems engineer that are worth being told to a new engineer. Some are subtle, and some are surprising, but none are controversial. This list is for the new distributed systems engineer to guide their thinking about the field they are taking on. It’s not comprehensive, but it’s a good beginning.The worst characteristic of this list is that it focuses on technical problems with little discussion of social problems an engineer may run into. Since distributed systems require more machines and more capital, their engineers tend to work with more teams and larger organizations. The social stuff is usually the hardest part of any software developer’s job, and, perhaps, especially so with distributed systems development.
When someone wants to purchase an app for his or her smartphone where do they go? Usually to the App Store on iTunes or Google or they just search for it online and download it. Apps are popular, fun and, in some cases, even productive.But if you’re a business the problem is bigger. You don’t want an “app”. You’re not trying to have fun. You’re trying to make money. You’re trying to accomplish the mundane activities of running a business – creating a quote, ordering products, managing inventory, sending out invoices, collecting cash, running a payroll…and keeping it all secure. These activities aren’t really enjoyable. And for most small businesses beyond the size of one person they can’t be accomplished with just an app. You need an application. And nowadays many of these applications are found on the cloud. But where do you find the right application for your business?Staples thinks it has the answer to this problem. But do they? Should you buy your next software application from Staples? Aren’t they just an office supply store?Last week Staples launched their App Center for cloud based business applications. The App Center is targeted at companies like mine: small businesses looking for better software to run their business, particularly in the cloud. It’s being positioned as an independent place to find and then buy these products. Staples says that small businesses who subscribe to products through their App Center will enjoy many benefits like low monthly fees, a one-stop place for billing and access via a dashboard and first level support from Staples. But most importantly it’s positioned as an independent marketplace.
When we talk about software craftsmanship we always talk about techniques revolving around the act of software creation; how to write clean code, how to test drive, etc.A professional software craftsman has many tools under his belt. Many are technical in nature, but many others are considered soft skills. This book focuses on one such soft skill; The Inception Workshop.You can use this book as a guide to help you start your next project, generating the insights you need to really leverage your teams capacity to add value to your customers product.With the Inception Workshop you will be able to shed light into the uncertainty of a starting project, build a common language and understand your customers needs."This book is based on my experieces facilitating a myriad of inception workshops for startups, the government, projects and products." ~ Enrique Comba Riepenhausen
The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is underway in Las Vegas right now. And while 150,000 consumers and CIOs alike are storming the aisles, clamoring to check out the newest gadgets, it’s easy to forget a key piece of the story.After Sin City’s bright lights have faded, it’s not Lexus’ self-driving car or HAPIforks’ diet utensils that will impact your everyday work-life. It’s really all about the apps.The fact is there are plenty of new gizmos and innovations being announced this week like 3D TVs, new gaming consoles, tablets and more. But, what will get consumers (and businesses) excited is what they can do with these devices.What do I mean? Take the iPhone for example. No question the iPhone was slick when it came out, but the buzz has always been about its huge selection of apps, whether they were for GPS, finding a restaurant, or social media. So, until 3D content is widely available, that revolutionary 3D TV is really just another fancy TV set.Sure, there have been a number of new smartphones and tablet announcements from the likes of Microsoft and RIM, but what’s clear is that it will all be a big yawner without those hot apps.
By Cornelius Rahn & Aaron Ricadela - 2013-01-10T17:15:00Z SAP AG (SAP) will unveil the most significant overhaul to its mainstay enterprise software in two decades, in a move to cement its dominance in that market while springing on Oracle Corp. (ORCL)’s database business. The German company is showing at an event today in Palo Alto, California, a much faster version of its Business Suite software by running it within its Hana database. The product will give SAP the chance of growing its market share in both application and database markets by targeting new customers to its business-management software while getting existing clients to choose its faster database, co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Hagemann Snabe said in an interview in Frankfurt. “We’re dramatically challenging the database market with a new value proposition and a next generation technology,” Snabe said, calling the new Business Suite the biggest breakthrough in applications since SAP released the R/3 software in 1992. The move bolsters SAP’s core product, which still accounts for the bulk of its revenue, after a switch in focus in the past three years to expand into mobile and Internet-based software. The company, which has traditionally had to rely on data storage systems supplied by rivals such as Oracle and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), is also betting the new features will convince customers to choose its own database.
Tobii peripheral adds an eye-tracking interface to any Windows 8 computer through a USB port, but the company's only offering 5,000 units before the end of the year.The accessory attaches to the base of your laptop screen or monitor, and tracks the movement of your eyes.Whatever you may feel about Windows 8, it's sparked a number of interesting hybrid designs. Now you can count the Tobii Rex, an eye-controlled interface for Windows 8, as another innovation that works with Microsoft's latest operating system. First seen at last year's CES, the Rex is an eye-tracking peripheral that works with Tobii's proprietary Gaze interface to navigate around a Windows 8 computer. The stick-like device attaches to the base of your computer screen and connects via a USB port. Although the Rex enables users to perform tasks such as scrolling, Tobii says it's not meant to replace your keyboard or mouse. The company seems to be rolling out the Rex gradually; it's only offering 5,000 units before the end of the year. Tobii hasn't announced the price or availability for the device, though a special developer edition is now available at $995.
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